Goat is the most commonly eaten meat in the world and yet one we’ve not really embraced in Britain and Ireland.
When male kids are born they’re invariably incinerated as the goat industry here is centred around dairy and not meat.
Eating the goat is ethical, sustainable but more importantly it’s really tasty.
In 2010 in New York City a group of food activists partnered with a dozen goat dairies around New York state and Vermont to purchase their unwanted males.
Over 50 chefs in the city agreed to put it on the menu and Goatober was born.
This initiative succeeded in encouraging the public to eat more goat and its success grew and last year spread to the UK.
Last year London restaurants emulated their NYC counterparts and raised over £6,000 for the charity Action Against Hunger at the same time.
There are two goat farms in Northern Ireland – Broughgammon Farm located on the sprawling moss land outside Ballycastle and Tynedale Farm on the road to Saintfield from Lisburn.
Both produce goat that has been embraced by chefs here and throughout the UK.
Tynedale mainly supply the restaurant industry but if you want to source their goat go to tynedalegoatkid.com for contact details.
Broughgammon Farm have an on site butchery and plans for a visitor centre and restaurant in place.
Meanwhile you can catch them at events, farmers markets and every Saturday morning in St George’s Market in Belfast.
They add value to the meat by cooking up burritos, burgers, tacos and changing specials. If you’re feeling creative you can buy the goat meat to cook.
One of their best dishes is a goat offal taco – spiced liver and kidney is topped with local cheese, fermented vegetables from their polytunnel, and their special recipe spicy sauce.
For me this sums up the ethos of this product – sustainability in using all cuts of the animal matched with great local ingredients.
They serve this at the market and I can confirm it makes a nice change from the usual bacon bap on a Saturday morning !
If you fancy bacon they also make a goat version that’s lean and delicious.
Because it’s kid meat it tastes like a cross between lamb and venison.
It’s got a lower fat content making it a healthier option too.
The first time I had goat meat was in a Caribbean restaurant in Manchester in the early 1990s.
It was highly spiced but that didn’t stop the flavour of an old animal seeping through – not a pleasant experience on any level.
Here the kids are only about six months old when they’re taken to the abattoir so the meat is sweet and flavoursome.
Goat isn’t a cheap option – no properly reared meat is. Like rare breed pork or beef, a little goes a long way.
My first recipe takes inspiration from my first experience of eating it, with a Jamaican Jerk spiced shoulder of goat.
The meat is marinated in warm spices, ginger, thyme and lime – a classic combination and then braised slowly.
Black beans are added at the end to take up the flavour and eke out the meat.
My other recipe is for a goat sausage roll using flaky pastry.
It’s ambitious but making your own pastry is so worth the effort.
Goatober finishes on the 31st of the month but it’s something we should be introducing all year round.